A Spring Homecoming for CJ Men's Tennis

Men’s tennis, the first feature team of the spring sports season, extended its winning streak to a fourth straight match Wednesday, April 4 with a 5-0 home victory over league opponent McNicholas High School. As the team nears the midway point of the regular season, we are serving up the top four points you will want to follow throughout the Eagles’ 2012 campaign.

CJ men's tennis entered the year coming off two of the most successful seasons in recent memory, sending players to state in consecutive seasons and winning the school’s first ever outright GCL North championship in 2010. And, after its first five matches, the senior-laden varsity squad has not disappointed, recording a 5-1 overall record.

The Eagles only loss—a stinging 3-2 defeat in the first-ever spring match at the new Eagles Tennis Center—came at the hands of Carroll. CJ can improve its divisional record and jockey for favorable seeds in the GCL North tournament when the team takes on Alter at home Monday, April 16—its first game back after Easter break (April 6-13).

“No matter how well you do during the season, it always gets tougher for the GCL tournament and anything can happen,” said Andrew Bole, a senior co-captain and 2010 state representative. The league tournament is Wednesday, May 2.

“It’s just great to not have to travel very far for games or practices,” Bole said of the team’s new home, the Eagles Tennis Center, which officially opened during the women’s tennis season on September 15, 2011.

“The courts are right across the street for anyone who wants to come watch tennis, and that makes it a lot easier for other people to get to see our matches,” Bole said. Fellow senior co-captain John Manovich agreed the new location at Franklin and Ludlow Streets is convenient, and added the facility's attractive features have significantly helped draw the interest of other students. Ten freshmen joined a program that also returned six seniors in 2012.

“Experience is our biggest asset,” said Manovich, third singles player. He is accompanied by varsity teammates Bole, first singles player, and senior Sean Miller, second singles player. The upperclassman duo of John Chick and Tony Vo combine as the Eagles' first doubles team, while senior Daniel Striebich pairs with freshman Anthony Genovesi to round out the line-up as the second doubles team.

“There’s a lot of talent amongst the freshmen,” Manovich said. “They have the potential to be a very successful class by the time they are juniors and seniors.”

In early 2012, head men’s and women’s tennis coach Jim Brooks received the Sportsmanship, Ethics and Integrity Award from members of the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association (OTCA). Since 1998, Brooks has accumulated a combined record of 351-177 (138-110 men’s, 213-67 women’s). In that span, CJ tennis teams have competed in the state tournament four times, won GCL and GGCL titles seven times, and produced six singles and eight doubles team state qualifiers.

“This award is certainly a surprise to me, and I am tremendously honored to receive it,” Brooks said in late February. “Special thanks to the OTCA, a really fine organization that serves the sport and its athletes in a profound and generous way.”

He also thanked friend and mentor Bob Helmers as well as various local tennis coaches for sharing their guidance and wisdom along the way. Helmers, a former professional tennis player, serves the team as an assistant coach.

“Having both coach Brooks and coach Helmers, with so much tennis experience between them, really helps guide us through the season,” Manovich said.